Lots of support for Democrats at Vietfest

By Todd Thurwachter:

Volunteers from FCDC and the Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia (DAAV) reported the strongest positive engagement yet at this year’s Vietfest held in August.

They found a great deal of support and enthusiasm, particularly among young voters, and recommended trying to recruit more young volunteers for next year’s Vietfest. Most important, they identified and built up an army of volunteers committed to building a big Blue Wave in Northern Virginia, particularly among Asian-Americans.

Thanks again to the efforts of Rose Chu, longtime outreach champion for both FCDC and the Democratic Asian Americans of Virginia (DAAV), the two groups hosted their fifth joint booth at the Seventh Annual Vietfest held the weekend of August 11 and 12 at Tysons Mallin McLean, VA.

Erika Yalowitz (left, FCDC/Providence), Rose Chu (FCDC and DAAV, annual organizer of the joint booth at Vietfest), and Wesley Joe (DAAV) staffing the booth.

Both days opened with a rousing Lion Dance and the stage was busy all day long with Vietnamese performances and contests. 

Jennifer Wexton, Democratic Candidate for CD-10, was joined by Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid and Delegate Mark Keam of Vienna, VA (35th District) for the Opening Festivities.

Keam is the first Asian-born immigrant elected to any state level in Virginia and has participated in every Vietfest for the last seven years. Wexton’s opponent, current CD-10 Rep. Barbara Comstock, attended both days, joined on Saturday by GOP Senate Candidate Corey Stewart and the GOP candidates for the 11th and 8th Congressional Districts. But the energy and enthusiasm was definitely with the Dems.

Why? Rose Chu and FCDC’s Voter Registration & Education Committee site captain, Todd Thurwachter, had recruited two dozen enthusiastic volunteers to engage Virginia voters and we had a story to tell!  Just last year, Democrats elected Vietnamese-American Kathy Tran as the Delegate for Virginia’s 42nd District, the first Asian-born woman to win state-wide office in Virginia.

Plenty of Dem campaign tools were on hand.

But most compelling was the sign in our booth and on the back of all clipboards which volunteers paraded through the event: In 2017, 83% of VA’s Asian Americans voted Democrat!  Why? We share Priorities:  Health Care (53%), Education (43%), Immigration/Refugees (40%), Economy/Jobs (28%), Environment (20%) (based on 2017 exit polls of the governor’s race by the nonpartisan Asian-American Legal Defense & Education Fund.)

The clipboard sign urged voters to sign up for FCDC’s Election Alerts (to sign up yourself, just click hereto help us build a blue wave on Nov. 6, and helped volunteers initiate many meaningful and positive conversations with voters.

Even when the stage noise was too loud to speak over (most of the time), our signs spoke volumes!

PHOTO ABOVE STORY: Fairfax Sheriff Stacey Kincaid, Virginia State Sen. Jennifer Wexton, and State Delegate Mark Keam at the Lion Dance.

Todd Thurwachter, a retired Foreign Service Officer, has canvassed since returning from Beijing in 2009, serving since 2013 on the FCDC Voter Registration & Education Committee. He is a member of Providence District Democratic Committee.